Most of us leave the shopping 'til December, but we're wondering how much stress an early start could prevent...
We know, we know - it's August, the kids don't even go back to school for another few weeks, and the last thing you want to think about is bloody Christmas.
But while you've been enjoying the summer sunshine (or lamenting the lack thereof), some folk have been making premature plans for that magical day in December. Hamleys were trying to forecast the top toys of Christmas 2014 all the way back in June, and a quick Twitter search for the word 'Christmas' reveals that hundreds of people are already having visions of sugar-plums:
You can almost forgive Hamleys for getting into the Christmas spirit a little too soon - they're a huge toy retailer, after all, and forward pla nning is important for businesses like that. But what about these kooks on Twitter? Are they merely Yule-crazed anomalies, or should we all start worrying about Christmas at the height of summer?
Well, August may be a little too early, but a surprising number of people seem to think that it’s perfectly acceptable to start one’s festive preparations months in advance. According to a 2013 article from the North Devon Journal, more than ONE THIRD of people in England have started their Christmas shopping by the end of September – most folk haven’t even started planning their Halloween parties by that point!
Still, perhaps those people are on to something. Here are three reasons to give yourself a head-start on the Christmas shopping this year:
1. It's cheaper
A lot of retailers see Christmastime as an opportunity to jack up their prices. If Santa is supposed to be coming down the chimney in a matter of days – and your children are counting on him to deliver something specific – then you can’t really afford to worry about price tags.
If, on the other hand, you start your shopping in September/October, you’ll have a lot more freedom to shop around, and you may even beat the aforementioned Yuletide price spike. This will leave you with more money for food and other Christmas expenses.
2. It's less stressful
Some people love hitting the high street just before Christmas, but these people are in a minority – most sensible folk would rather not get trampled half to death by a horde of desperate last-minute shoppers, or spend two hours in a queue at their local HMV.
And yet, as much as we all despise the Christmas crowds, few of us actually bother to avoid them. This year, why not buy your presents before December and beat the inevitable throngs?
3. You're more likely to find the right gift
Allow us to paint you a picture: Christmas is coming, there’s a new video game coming out, and little Billy/Sally simply has to have it – no substitutes are acceptable. So you pop into Game on December the 21st and – surprise, surprise – they’ve sold out.
Allow us to paint you a second picture. You’re in town a couple of days before Christmas, doing a spot of last-minute gift-buying. Little Billy/Sally hasn’t actually told you what they want to see under the tree on the 25th. You’re completely on your own, and you’ll probably end up panic-buying something that they won’t even like.
In either scenario, you’ll end up wishing that you’d been more prepared. Getting an early start on your Christmas shopping gives you more time to think up decent gift ideas, and it gives you a far greater chance of picking up that one must-have.
Nobody’s suggesting that you should go out and get your Christmas shopping done now, in the middle of summer. Heck, that approach could backfire big-time when, in November, your child/partner/distant relative says ‘Hey, y’know what I really fancy for Christmas?’ and you’re forced to say ‘Sorry, sweetheart, I already bought your present back in August. You’re getting Lego’.
But it’s never too early to start planning. Ask your nearest and dearest what they think they might like come December, and if they do have something particular in mind, get it now and save yourself a lot of stress later on.
If you do want to start your Christmas shopping ASAP, pop over to the Gadget Inspector homepage now and fill yer boots!
Image Credit: Alejandro Erickson